This past year has been a challenge for all business professionals. With lockdown and closures, we've seen our worlds become smaller, and our opportunities to engage with new ideas, explore new things, and seek out fresh experiences become fewer and less frequent. Unfortunately, without those stimuli, it's easy to find yourself bored and stuck in a rut creatively.
“Pets understand humans better than humans do.” said Ruchi Prabhu, Indian Author. One thing for sure, our pets will miss us when we return to the office, but somehow they will survive. Pet party! The humans are gone!
When the pandemic is over or almost over, in whatever form that takes, where will workers go work? Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon said, in referring to the growing sentiment of working remotely, "I do think for a business like ours, which is an innovative, collaborative apprenticeship culture, this is not ideal for us. And it's not a new normal. It's an aberration that we're going to correct as soon as possible."
Success doesn't happen in a vacuum. No matter how smart, driven, and accomplished you are, you can only get so far on your own. Whether it's noodling on the guitar, learning a foreign language, working on your golf swing, or building an 8-figure business, you'll achieve more under the wing of a seasoned pro than by trying to figure it all out on your own. Warren Buffett might have experienced a very different trajectory without Benjamin Graham and Charlie Munger. (And, to take it full circle, the same goes for Bill Gates without Warren Buffett!)
The one commodity you can never get back is time, and boy does it fly! It almost seems as though the older you get, the faster it moves. It seems like just yesterday your first boss was handing out management tips like Halloween candy.
In business, time is money. That’s why it’s vital to learn how to manage your time efficiently, not just for your bottom line but for true happiness and satisfaction.
It's a long way to the top, so it's tempting to sit and rest on your laurels when you get there. But the thing that worked once won't always work. That's because the contexts we lead in are always changing. Industries shift, markets change, new research and best practices emerge, and customer and employee expectations are always on the move.
Everyone wins when a culture of workplace accountability is implemented properly. Staff are able to take control of their work, there are clear lines of report, and managers can trust their employees to work without constant oversight. A culture of positive accountability also has a positive impact on morale and commitment. That's because you're trusting and empowering your staff to perform their roles at a high level, rather than trying to take the old-school top-down punitive approach.
Curiosity killed the cat.
If ever there was a saying that shouldn't EVER become your life motto, this is it.
At some point, someone somewhere thought it was prime advice to tell someone not to ask any questions. Curiosity in this cliche is a road you don't want to go on.
There's so much that goes into being a successful, well-rounded business leader. From drive and discipline to flexibility and empathy, it seems leaders need to have it all. But one must-have quality of a good leader is decisiveness.
As the days warm up, our motivation to work often cools off. It's hard to stay on task when the sunshine is calling - especially when we've spent the past few months cooped up inside. But since a sabbatical isn't on the cards for most of us, we need to find ways to stay focused and productive even when we'd rather be at the beach or by the pool. Here are a couple of ideas to try.
Good habits are all about routine, and with so much of our lives up in the air right now, it's easy for those habits to go out the window. Maybe you're sleeping in, slacking on deadlines, or spending too much time scrolling Twitter. Now's the time to stop and take stock before those new behaviors become your new habits.
Performing at your peak during uncertain times is no easy task. When what worked before won't necessarily work going forward, and when no one knows what tomorrow will bring, decisive action and decision-making is an all-new frontier. But although COVID-19 may have thrown a wrench in your business plans, it doesn't have to mess with your management style.
Being great at our jobs is all about continuous improvement across every dimension. But the coronavirus lockdown means that many of our usual professional development avenues are closed off to us. But it's not all bad news. Even when we're sheltering in place, most of the world's knowledge is just a Google search or app download away.
Here are some tips for building your on-the-job skills and smarts while out of the office.
Tom is frustrated that he's not further in life. Tom feels like there is never enough time. Tom spends his days banging his head against the wall and then asking why his head hurts.
Bob has a lot of goals set out in front of him but feels content in life. Bob has developed habits that allow him to make the most of his time, spending it purposefully. Bob starts and ends his day refreshed.
The words "fail" and "failure" can have many connotations. There seem to be two schools of thought when it comes on the approach to understanding failure.
The first is failure means you didn't do whatever you set out to do and you never will. It's a period at the end of a sentence.
The second is its proof you're working towards a goal that's worth achieving.
Your marketing and sales teams have the same goal: to generate leads, close deals and make you money. When they're in sync, it's good news: marketing and sales alignment can boost sales by 67%. However, it's all too common for these teams to be working independently, or even at odds with each other. This can impact your marketing ROI, sales productivity and top-line growth.
It seems like a simple question: Would you rather continually improve or hold yourself back from success? That may sound like a biased comparison, but that's essentially what's happening when you have a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset. Let's explore how that impacts your employees and business.
It's probably a safe bet to say that most business leaders want to be the best they can be — at the top of their game. Of course, that's easier said than done. Becoming a master at what you do can be intimidating. It takes time, patience, drive, and so much more.
But there are some strategies and tricks that can help you in your quest to become one of the best in the business.
Owning and/or managing a successful franchise requires you to stay on your toes and be constantly willing to learn, tweak, and re-evaluate processes to refine what works and eliminate what doesn’t. Not only are you managing your staff, but you’re also managing your franchisees. Obviously you want to do your best to help them succeed because their success is ultimately your success. Growing your franchise means implementing strategies that not only serve your customers well but also attract new franchisees for expansion.
Transparency in the workplace is a tricky matter. As Glassdoor CEO Robert Hohman nicely stated, "it comes with tremendous responsibility, but also an enormous opportunity." This responsibility and opportunity lie mostly in the hands of management and human resources. It’s up to them how much information is shared with employees and in what manner. So what are the best ways to be transparent within your business? Are you doing enough? How can you foster an open work environment that drives everyone forward?
People are hardwired to connect with stories. Storytelling gets attention, creates empathy and fosters a sense of belonging and alignment. And importantly for brands, it's humanizing.
If your business is doing well but no one really knows your story, now is the time to change that. Storytelling is the secret sauce that can take you from good to great.
Here's how to use storytelling to drive brand success.
Your business, no matter the industry, is about problem-solving at its core. Your product or service answers a need; it solves a problem. Your company started because it saw a problem or need and wanted to fill that void.
You should approach every “problem” in your business with that same thinking. Strategic analysis is critical, though often skipped, step for every decision made in your business.
Thomas Jefferson was known for his philosophy that learning doesn’t stop after graduation. At The University of Virginia, students are known as ‘first years’ rather than freshman, ‘second years’ rather than sophomores, and so on, in honor of this idea— that learning never stops. TJ has made a great point. Learning does not stop, even when we grow up and become adults. But how does this apply to the modern workplace? Do you have policies in place that embrace this idea?
Difficult employees can slow down business and suck colleagues into a negative vortex. They often seem to have a dark cloud above their heads in the office and even the best professionals, managers, execs, or CEOs spend valuable time worrying about what to do and how to manage them. While being on top of hiring can prevent this issue, it’s somewhat unavoidable. Problems arise in employee’s lives, business processes change, personalities clash, the possibilities are endless.
Here we have some tips to follow when you are faced with this challenge in your own office.
The end of the year is fast approaching, and with it, estimations on what the future has in store for businesses everywhere. While some trends are already fading out, there are plenty of new trends on the rise.
We foresee shifts in thinking, shifts in creativity, and shifts in public discussions just beyond the horizon.
Businesses that want to stay competitive will have to keep an eye on the evolving landscape and become early adopters of new ideas and technology. A little risk today can lead to big rewards tomorrow.
In 1958 the average lifespan of a business was 61 years. Today, the average lifespan is around 18 years, according to a study by McKinsey.
As we walked (and then ran) into the digital age, how, when and where we do business has completely transformed. In its wake, the business graveyard has grown and not many are pausing to mourn the losses of Blockbuster, Blackberry, Yahoo, or any other ghosts of businesses' pasts.
Innovation. It's a term all too often used to describe the latest technology, as if it's synonymous with invention. But, in reality, invention is only ever one aspect of innovation in the business world.
Business innovation is all about finding new, disruptive and more effective methods in the name of boosting the bottom line. It's implementing new ideas, products, processes and more in order to increase revenue.
So you’ve successfully bootstrapped your way to a real company with great offerings and you’re starting to see some real growth. Congrats! Hopefully, people are spreading the word and the trajectory is trending nicely upward for the foreseeable future. Up next on the leadership todo list: Scaling your operations to handle this growing amount of work.
First, let's get this out of the way. Growth and scaling are two different goals, growth is about adding incremental growth percentages as a factor of turnover whereas scale is a process-driven approach to growth. Growth and scale require different management styles, below we’ll run through a few important questions you should be asking yourself before you start the process of scaling.
When interviewing potential employees, we don’t merely ask them to list their strengths for us. Often, we’ll ask them to tell us what their weaknesses are as well. This helps us get to know them better. And it reveals where we might be able to assist them if we bring them onto our team. Our businesses could use this same type of insight.
Knowing your company’s weaknesses will only make your organization stronger. It’ll reveal two things:
- Where your organization still needs to improve
- How to reposition your company’s weaknesses as strengths
Company values are a collection of ideas and guidelines that establish your company culture and drive your employees to daily success.
These values are essential to a company overall, but in many cases, they are only found written on the office walls or inside employee handbooks. They aren’t being talked about daily or living and breathing within the company. So how do we transform values from plain text into a way of life?
Just like in life, everything in business is a tradeoff. Every decision that you make has an opportunity cost - basically, by taking one route, you're giving up the opportunity to take another route. Some of these tradeoffs are small, and others are major; some are simple, and some are extraordinarily complex.
Say you want to purchase a computer. If your only requirement is that it meets a certain price point, the decision is easy. If, on the other hand, it needs to be a certain size, have a certain amount of processing power, a touch screen, and four USB ports, chances are you're going to have to make some tradeoffs.
There are plenty of reasons why companies hire from within. It's cheaper, offers natural progression for candidates, and shows that as a company, you nurture and develop the people who are already doing a great job - but is this always the right choice for success?
Not always. It's vital to assess the company's specific needs and goals when hiring, but if you are looking for a strong leader, new ideas, the right experience, or a fresh set of eyes on things, hiring outside your company could be the right direction. While managing change in business can be difficult, there are actually lots of benefits to external hires, especially when it comes to leadership positions.
If you were to remove your work from your personal brand, what would others say about you? For many leaders, the answer is not much. But to be a great leader, you need to stand for more than just your work. Just as high schoolers strive to be seen as "well-rounded" on their college applications, business leaders should aim to live multi-dimensional lives. Being about more than your job helps you connect with people, expand your interests and skills, and identify new opportunities. In short, effective leadership is about integrating and leveraging the many aspects of being an interesting, engaged human being.
Topics: CEO Series
Everyone has a fantasy of who they want to be. And that often differs from who they are in reality. Companies aren't any different. We all have a vision of where we want our company to be. But to get there, we must know where we are. This is the purpose of gap analysis.
Gap analysis reveals the difference between your company’s goals and your present reality. It’s a valuable tool regardless of whether your company is currently succeeding, failing or treading water.
To each their own. To the same beat as Mitch Albom's The 5 People You Meet in Heaven – here are the 3 clients you'll meet in your career.
Every client comes with a different personality. Taking the time to recognize the type of client that you’re dealing with can put you ahead of the competition and make your life easier. Creating a strategic plan while keeping in mind who you're dealing with will eliminate problems down the line. Listed below are a few of the most common client personalities. We’ll go through how to spot them, the challenges they can bring, and some helpful tips on how to manage.
Being able to deliver a pitch that lands just right is a valuable skill to have in your arsenal. Pitching might sound daunting, but it's something we do all the time as part of our daily lives. We pitch ideas, stories, business strategies, and even dinner menus. The aim is to sell someone on something, whether it's a concept, a service or a product.
Here's how to take that innate pitching ability and hone it to get the results you want.
Eureka! You've been trying to figure out the answer to a problem at work that seems to have no solution.
And then, you're drinking your morning coffee running your to-do list through your head and BOOM.
The sun hits the window seal and it's like that light bulb clicked on in your head and you know exactly what to do.
Networking isn't easy. It can be awkward and exhausting – and you might walk away feeling like you didn't represent yourself or your business the best you could. But never fear! There's a tool you can use to make your next networking experience a success: storytelling.
Storytelling is a powerful thing. It's leveraged in journalism, marketing, comedy, and so much more. We all love a good story, so why not use it to make a deeper connection with someone and potentially start a new business relationship?
As a leader, speaking is part of the job, or at the very least should be. But giving a talk can be daunting, even for those who have done it many times before. Here are our tips for delivering a speech that keeps audiences enthralled, while communicating everything you need to.
You Talkin' To Me?
Your audience is a key factor in what you're presenting, and how. Presenting to a room of subject matter experts requires a different approach from presenting to marketers or career hopefuls. When you know who you're targeting, you can shape the length, style, and tone of your presentation accordingly.
Do you let business come to you naturally or are you constantly nurturing prospects? Trick question - you should be doing both. If you're good at what you do and you invest in ongoing marketing efforts then business will come to you naturally. But, it's also important to do some business development nurturing.
It's like when you're decorating your house. You invest in a houseplant, but then you fail to invest in taking care of that houseplant. It needs nurturing care. Sometimes specialized care. Or it won't last.
CEOs earn their positions for a reason: They have the right mix of leadership, drive, personality, discipline, and skill. You know, The Right Stuff. If you're looking to climb the ranks and become a business leader of any kind, you'll want to adopt some key CEO habits. Below are some tips for becoming one of those rockstar employees who have CEO written all over them. The tried and true tricks of the trade.
As a high-level executive, your days are bound to be extremely busy. But no matter how hectic your schedule is, it's critical to take time to build up the individuals who will become the future leaders of your company. Grooming someone to excel in a leadership role takes time, effort and resources - and it's best done by someone with on-the-ground insights into your company's culture, goals, and aspirations.
Ever asked a colleague about an email or task, only to get sidetracked talking about something else entirely? At StellaPop we call these moments "squirrel time," after Doug the notoriously distractible dog in the film Up.
Not all squirrel time is bad. We all need a break every now and then, and sometimes squirrel time can result in valuable discussions or insights about a client, a task or a process. But how do you control squirrel time so that you don't go nuts?
Here's how we ensure that we stay on task and meet our deadlines - while still allowing for occasional office chit chat and discussion.
As a leader, your team looks to you for answers and support. Being able to deliver clear, actionable feedback is a critical leadership skill - one that's both good for your team and good for your standing as a leader.
Here's how to deliver feedback that everyone can use to improve.
If you're the head coach of a college or high school basketball team, it's safe to bet that you've probably had a few years coaching experience at a variety of levels. This is a true communication and leadership success story.
It all begins with one of the most successful college coaches who started as a newcomer to college coaching. He had never coached a national powerhouse high school team or a star-studded AAU program before he was hired to resurrect a storied D3 college basketball program. He will tell you about a coach doing it all. Scheduling games, running practices, mapping out strength and conditioning programs, arranging travel – private school coaches roll many responsibilities into one demanding job.
Topics: CEO Series